Love Me, Hate Me, Just Don't Ignore Me
Owens may have made a lot of money in his career—at least $80 million—but he insists almost all of it is gone.
He let other people take care of things. He says his financial advisers (informally recommended by Rosenhaus) put him in a series of risky, highly leveraged ventures that he didn’t discover until autumn 2010, when he finally demanded a full accounting. And of course there were the houses and condos, which he had always figured he could rent out; they became dead weight when the real estate market collapsed in 2008. Individually they weren’t terribly lavish, but together the mortgage nut is reportedly almost $750,000 a year. The Atlanta house is on the market; the south Jersey place he paid $3.9 million for was sold for $1.7 million in late 2010. Most egregious of all was the ill-fated Alabama entertainment complex (with an electronic-bingo component) that cost him $2 million. He invested, he says, at the suggestion of his advisers and a lawyer they steered him to, Pamela Linden. The venture turned out to be illegal in the state, not to mention a violation of the NFL’s policy prohibiting players from investing in gambling. Owens is suing Linden, as is Clinton Portis, the former Redskins running back who also invested.
Stop me if you've heard it before:
- Star athlete grows up poor and with little;
- Star athlete works hard to make it big;
- Star athlete makes it big and gets paid millions;
- Star athlete is unprepared for wealth preservation;
- Star athlete goes broke;
- Star athlete writes a book/goes on TV/is featured in magazine lamenting life story.
It's easy to make fun of Owens here. Stupid is as stupid does. And if it mattered, I would drop in a spreadsheet right now showing the future value of $80 million (or even his base salary for one year) if left in an almost risk-free asset like TIPS (Treasury-Inflation Protected Securities) over a time horizon, like, say, the rest of Owens' working life (age 60). But we all know it wouldn't matter.
The NFL is bigger than any one player. Owens is finding this out. The lights have dimmed, no one is watching, and soon, sooner than he realizes, the advisers, agents, magazines like GQ, and so-called friends won't care either. Sad? Yeah? Suprising? No, not really.